Friday, November 13, 2015

Supreme Court to hear a case about abortion

On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a major abortion case, the first since 2007. The Court agreed to review a Texas law that has forced the closure of about forty abortion clinics and could potentially result in the closure of a dozen more. This decision is expected to be extremely impactful, as abortion has become a significant topic in politics and debates. The case concerns two provisions of the Texas law that imposes restrictions and requirements on abortion clinics, which was signed in July 2013 by Governor Rick Perry. One provision states that doctors who perform abortions are required to have admitting privileges at at a nearby hospital. Another part of the law states that all of the clinics that provide abortions should meet the standards for "ambulatory surgical centers," putting these clinics to hospital-like standards. Supporters of the bill claimed these measures were necessary to protect the health of the patients, while abortion providers responded that the regulations were expensive and unnecessary.

Texas's attorney general, Ken Paxton, stated that the law was designed to protect the health of Texas women. He claimed, "“The common-sense measures Texas has put in place elevate the standard of care and protect the health of Texas women. The state has wide discretion to pass laws ensuring Texas women are not subject to substandard conditions at abortion facilities. The advancement of the abortion industry’s bottom line shouldn’t take precedence over women’s health, and we look forward to demonstrating the validity of these important health and safety requirements in Court.”

Nancy Northup, the CEO of the Center of Reproductive Rights, praised the Supreme Court's decision, stating that "Today the Supreme Court took an important step toward restoring the constitutional rights of millions of women, which Texas politicians have spent years dismantling through deceptive laws and regulatory red tape."

What do you think about the Supreme Court's decision to hear this case? How is this going to affect the debates about abortion and for women? Based on earlier cases such as Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, do you think that the Supreme Court will uphold this law? Why or why not?

New York Times, CNNNBCNPR, Photo


Anonymous said...

While Texas claims that it is closing abortion clinics for the safety of women, they are actually doing so because they want fewer women to get abortions. Because of this restriction, it is pretty much only possible to hold an abortion clinic in a major city, making it difficult for women in more rural parts of the state to get to a clinic for a safe abortion. The forced closure of abortion clinics forces women to drive miles, have their child, or turn to back alley abortions, endangering women even further.

I do not think that it will be very possible to foresee how the court will rule on this issue. While Planned Parenthood v. Casey allowed states to place restrictions on abortions so long as they are an "undue burden." I think that the major issue this case will focus on is whether or not these restrictions are an undue burden or not. I personally think that they are, but the court very well could have a different opinion.

Because the appeals court upheld the decision, and the supreme court decided to take the case, I think it is likely that some of the justices who wanted to take this case wished to do so to overturn the ruling of the appeals court. However, there is some confusion where a similar law was struck down in Mississippi and the Supreme Court simply wants to set a standard precedent.

Source: NPR

Anonymous said...

I see your point Jack; however, I am inclined to support the argument that in can improve the safety of the women receiving abortions. If the law was overturned, clinics that then meet the standards could be under-prepared for abnormal occurrences in a problematic abortion, endangering the woman's health. I do not think that if a woman truly wanted an abortion that it would be an "undue burden" to travel a few hours to a better equipped facility.

Jessica Yeh said...

Tara makes a good point that such standards would ensure that every clinic would be prepared for even abnormal occurrences. However, the safety standards in this law, in my opinion, are far too strict. It's not that all of these clinics are under-equipped and not safe enough, it's that the law takes it too far, since, like Jack said, the other motive is to make it harder for women to have abortions. A law can ensure safety in abortion clinics without closing more than half of them and forcing many women to travel over 150 miles to have an abortion. (NPR)